After decades of infinite search on the existence of life in planets other than Earth, scientists have gained a bit success in their goal by finding evidence of water in the atmosphere of an extra solar planet-the celestial body revolving sun outside our solar system.
The planet that has showed signs of water vapours and hydrogen in its air is HAT P-11b. The planet belongs to the constellation Cygnus and is approximately about 124 light years far from earth.
Almost four times bigger than the size of Earth, HAT P-11b is the smallest in the list of planets where evidence of Earth’s atmospheric components have been discovered.
UMD Astronomy Professor Drake Deming with his team of expert scientists and research astronomers were able to find existence of such chemical elements in exoplanet .Professor Drake who is known as a connoisseur in the study of exoplanets observed the atmosphere of HAT P-11b through three different NASA telescopes and made his analysis public. Nevertheless, a difficult analysis, but he with his enthusiastic colleagues made it possible. His findings were published in the Journal of Nature. The data of this research proved that the theories of planets formation in our system especially Earth can be applied to other planetary systems too.
But all these findings have raised an alarming question. How did they find evidence of water vapours on these remote planets? The publication Scoop provides us with answer to this question.
The explanation that resides according to Scoop is the utilization of a quirk of light that occurs when a planet crosses its host star. The elements in the atmosphere of planet absorbs radiation from the star, this makes the planet look bigger .Likewise the sun appear bigger at the time of sunset; when our eyes are visioning the horizon from a large field of Earth’s atmosphere. By charting changes in the exoplanet’s size and relating them with the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation a telescope observes, researches plot a graph that depicts the amount of star’s light a planet is absorbing. This shape of graph formed is known as transmission spectrum and it reveals the elements present in the atmosphere of the planet under observation. The actual size of planet proportionally affects the apparent increase in its size during its transit across its host star. The technique has been used to detect atmospheric components of planets the size of Jupiter, but this time the scientists have applied this technique on a comparatively smaller planet HATP-11b, which is the size of Neptune.
The scientists believed that finding evidence of water vapours in other planet’s atmosphere can be a starter to life .As water is a pre condition for life, making that water usable, possibility exists that human race can survive on other planets too.